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The Age of Magic

3.19  ·  Rating Details ·  459 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
This novel takes us on a journey, a magical, and a literal one. A tightly knit group of filmmakers travel from Paris together to make a documentary. Unknown to themselves they carry a lot of unwanted baggage - fear, anger, jealousy, love.

When they arrive in an idyllic Swiss village ringed by mountains and reflected in a lake, they discover a haunted world that will compel
...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 6th 2014 by Head of Zeus (first published October 9th 2014)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Holly
Jan 18, 2015 Holly rated it really liked it
Shelves: poc-author
I picked up this book because it is a beautifully produced little hardback with a gorgeous dust-jacket. Although I wasn’t absolutely sure what it was about, the short description on the inside cover intrigued me. I’m still not entirely sure what this was about because it is very surreal and dreamlike. There are parts of this that felt like Platonic dialogues, and others that reminded me of the strange sequences that you get in Haruki Murakami’s magical realist books. Needless to say that I loved ...more
Voracious
Nov 01, 2014 Voracious rated it liked it
Hmmm. Beautiful, certainly, in parts. But I feel unsatisfied. In fact, I feel as though I just walked through an art gallery lined with beautiful pictures, but I don't know what the point of the exhibition was. Maybe if I'd read Faust?
Örjan Pelle
Dec 23, 2014 Örjan Pelle rated it did not like it
I cannot stand how many open doors are kicked in in this book. Every single page is one of excellently written quotes but on a whole there is no red-line. The characters do not evolve in the course of the book. Certain events just happen for 4 pages and have no consequence at all. The book contains several walks with spiritual realizations which all the members magically agree on. Not to mention the repetitive way in which these ideas are conveyed. To top it all off it ends with a classic ...more
Ruth
Nov 22, 2015 Ruth rated it did not like it
Shelves: contemporary
Clearly, I am just not one for metaphysical journeys. This was one of those books that I knew within the first ten minutes that I was not going to finish. Fortunately,I don't come across a lot of these in my reading journey but enough that I know not to trudge through it just for the sake of completion. Therefore, I am not in a position to be able to recommend it to the normal crew.
NB: of course, forgot to mention his award for the "Bad sex in Fiction Awards 2014 for the immortal line - ""When h
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Shannon Gibbs
May 02, 2015 Shannon Gibbs rated it did not like it
I feel frustrated after completing this book. It promised so much but ultimately under-delivered especially given how much I loved Okri's previous book, The Famished Road. The Age of Magic looks beautiful and at times reads beautifully but for the most part I felt like I was missing something. I'm still not sure if it was me or the book missing something but its an uncomfortable read. It feels very stilted, disjointed and inconsistent. Between beautifully scribed moments the book falls short ...more
Sophie
Feb 09, 2015 Sophie rated it it was ok
Not sure I'm interested in finishing this book. It does contain poetic metaphoric wisdom and some wonderful lines, but sometimes I feel like I'm reading a Paulo Coelho book (and that's not intended as a compliment). I much much prefer Okri's The Famished Road. This feels a bit contrived to me.
Natalie Hamilton
Dec 22, 2014 Natalie Hamilton rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I really enjoyed some of the middle sections of this book. But I found parts of it cold, abstract, and disconnected. While the ideas were interesting, the dialogue heavy sections were rather tedious. There are lots of Faustian allusions to be enjoyed.
Kate Bystrova
Feb 16, 2015 Kate Bystrova rated it really liked it
‘A work of art that retraced the conquest of happiness would be a revolutionary one.’
– Camus, Noces (1937)

If you were making a documentary about Arcadia, where would you travel to? If you were looking for happiness, how would you start? The Age of Magic follows a film crew seeking to document just this. But along their journey they must each confront their own demons as well as a nightmare that they’ve conjured together: Malasso.

This is a book about the search for truth, happiness, and the powe
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Boshika Gupta
Apr 21, 2015 Boshika Gupta rated it liked it
I can't put my finger on it. Good and bad, vague and thought-provoking... conflicting ideas. Some lines are remarkable... that's the strength of the book, its ability to make you think and reflect.

Could it have been better? Definitely. The narrative is all over the place but it's endearing in this hard-to-define manner at times.

I'll have to read Okri's The Famished Road before I can reach a conclusion about his writing style.

P.S: Oh Malasso.
Latham
Feb 27, 2016 Latham rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
4.3
this was the most beautiful novel that I have had the pleasure of reading in recent memory. It lacks a plot, characters or legitimacy, in a literal sense. To have a full experience you have to throw yourself in these characters, question everything and try to see yourself in their situation. it's an extremely unique experience and is something i am going to analyse for the next few years until i feel fulfilled. it's so good, it's just not for everyone.
Lesley Botez
Dec 21, 2015 Lesley Botez rated it liked it
I listened to Ben Okri in Morges at the Book Fair and was looking forward to reading this book. Unfortunately I was disappointed. The strangely-named characters did not evolve or develop in any way in spite of the promise on the blurb, the scenery was repetitious, nothing really seemed to happen. There is some beautiful writing and interesting quotes, but not much in the way of a plot. Shame.
Astha Prakash
Jan 26, 2015 Astha Prakash rated it it was ok
The book is beautifully written and has some deep epiphanies and revelations, but I didn't really get the point. It makes you think at places, but most of the time I had no clue what was happening when I was reading it. Would have been a better read if I knew what I was supposed to be reading.
Karen
Oct 23, 2015 Karen rated it did not like it
Could not finish this narrative of randomness. Made it to page 183 of 285, and said enough.

Hope the film makers find what they're looking for... But probably not the point at all.
Frankly, if you can't show me the point by the halfway point, Ben, I don't see the point. Get it?
Ann
Feb 10, 2016 Ann rated it liked it
I don't think I really understood this book. It's about the characters finding paradise/Arcadia, but it's all just pretty descriptions and talking. Lots of nice visuals, all internal conflict and none of the characters seem to have changed much.
Ben
Nov 07, 2014 Ben rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. It left me with something intangible and mysterious, a seed of something in my psyche, perhaps.
Sophie Barloc
Nov 07, 2014 Sophie Barloc rated it really liked it
Premonitory book in some weird beautiful way. It left me with a feeling of mystery and my eyes open to every sign around me.
Chloe
Jan 15, 2015 Chloe rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, male-authors
This book goes no where! There are some nice insights, but overall it's a bit pretentious and boring.
Magdalena
The Age of Magic is something of a sequel to Ben Okri’s 2002 novel In Arcadia. It openswith the same group of eight filmmakers who are on a train, moving on from Paris, where they left off in In Arcadia,to Basel in Switzerland en route to Arcadia, Greece where they are creating a documentary film about Arcadia. The company do some filming on the train, arrive in Basel, stay in a beautiful hotel on the edge of the lake, work on the film, interact with one another and explore the nature of their l ...more
Eldon
Dec 26, 2014 Eldon rated it liked it
it was a pleasant enough read, half asleep, on my way from France to Spain, taking in Ben Okri's thoughts. His thoughts which can be found elucidated on every page, only very subtly converted into a narrative format.
No attempt is made to conceal the self reference of a writer trying to make it as one, and likely that's a big part of its draw. I found myself at times entertaining thoughts of that nature.
Nor does he conceal the pride he takes in his laconic nature. No harm in this, though I found
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Jude
May 31, 2015 Jude rated it it was amazing
Ben Okri’s first novel in seven years, The Age of Magic, follows the journey of a film production team travelling from Paris to Basel while filming a documentary. As the voyage unfolds, the team find themselves followed by shadows, plagued by ghosts, troubled by their pasts and enlightened by the world around them.

“What does Arcadia mean to you?” is the subject of the documentary and, increasingly, the question on each of the crew’s minds. The characters are troubled – burdened with their own ph
...more
Martin Peel
Feb 19, 2016 Martin Peel rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
I read The Famished Road 12 years ago on a personal recommendation. The book is indefinable and one of the most unusual books I have ever read. As an life long teacher of English Literature I have read a few unusual books; The Famished Road I would recommend to anyone. Ben Okri is probably fed up of having his writing compared to his earlier Booker winner. It was however the quality of The Famished Road that brought me to The Age of Magic.

This is another enigmatic book. It is a book about journe
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Martin Peel
Jan 17, 2016 Martin Peel rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
I read The Famished Road 12 years ago on a personal recommendation. The book is indefinable and one of the most unusual books I have ever read. As an life long teacher of English Literature I have read a few unusual books; The Famished Road I would recommend to anyone. Ben Okri is probably fed up of having his writing compared to his earlier Booker winner. It was however the quality of The Famished Road that brought me to The Age of Magic.

This is another enigmatic book. It is a book about journe
...more
Stephie
Feb 26, 2016 Stephie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, literature
Absolutely beautiful, mysterious little book. Okri's writing has elements of Marquez, Murakami and elements of the story even reminded me of Shakespeare's A Midsummer NIght's Dream. The story is very surreal and dreamlike and is infused with magical realism. It focuses on brief encounters, introspections and seemingly inconsequential events rather than a normal kind of plot. This adds to its mysterious enchantment. I found the characters' contemplations of the ideas of home, reality and nature ...more
Zohal
4.25 Stars

This was not what I was expecting at all.
I did not have high expectations due to the overall GR rating for the book and the various 1 star reviews, but I ended up pleasantly surprised.

This book starts off very jarring and is often didactic, however the more I read the better it became. All of a sudden I found myself invested in the journey the characters took. The writing style went from being overly poetic to being nicely subtle, with beautiful quotes on life that started off prete
...more
Rosa Zucchini
Jun 09, 2015 Rosa Zucchini rated it it was ok
Pah! This book promised so much and I was even more excited when I forgot to read it and then realised I couldn't renew it from the library because it had holds on it - cor blimey - it must be good if there is a queue forming eh, eh, eh???! Unfortunately not.
Whilst there were some great one-liners and even a few pages here and there; I found it lacked a flow even the loose one required for a journey of soul searching. The characterisation had exciting moments but seemed unable to sustain the an
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David Kenvyn
May 17, 2015 David Kenvyn rated it really liked it
This is a very strange but somehow enthralling book about a train journey, and the arrival at the end of that journey, in search of Arcadia. The film crew taking this journey are making a film about the search for Arcadia, and they are, of course, accompanied by their inner demons. But those inner demons are no longer confined within their minds, their emotions and their thoughts. The demons have got out and are able to affect the direction of events

Ben Okri does not put a foot wrong in the tell
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Pamela Scott
Aug 14, 2016 Pamela Scott rated it did not like it
I was drawn to the book because of its size; a cute little pocket-sized hardback with a lovely cover. The blurb intrigued me so I decided to dive in. I read the book, every word on every page but I’m left with only the vaguest idea what it was about and a sad, empty feeling. The Age of Magic is clearly not for me. I feel like this book has no depth or substance, rather like an empty husk or a corpse picked clean. Don’t get me wrong the writing is beautiful at times but ultimately flat and empty. ...more
SteveDave
I listened to this as an audio book, which I think was the big issue I had with this book; it doesn't work well in this format. The Age of Magic is a book that invites the reader to read slowly and closely, and I suspect that if I was curled up in bed with this book I would have found myself enjoying it a bit more and getting a bit more out of it. The audio book experience was, however, not great. This book lacks any central plot or strong narrative to engage its audience in a traditional sense, ...more
Nelleke
Definitely not what I expected. I expected a real story. But when I let this idea go,there was a beautiful book left. A lot of truth, like the sentence:

'And yet, after I’ve seen everything I’ve decided that home, wherever that may be, is the place for feelings of peace. And if I can be at peace with myself then that is the most important thing. I think travelling teaches one that.'

And that you have to see things thrice before you can really see them.

The book is like a dream, with dreamlike plot
...more
Anna Krjatian
Jul 03, 2015 Anna Krjatian rated it really liked it
Firstly, I'm a huge Ben Okri fan and in saying that, like his other books, this one is full of gems and treasures that I need to re-read to get the full scope of their meaning. I could have underlined the book in its entirety. In saying that, I am a bit confused by the ending and feel like there is something missing. It's not my favourite of his books but I feel that if I read it together with Astonishing the Gods, it would make more sense. I would really love to see this book made into a movie ...more
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Poet and novelist Ben Okri was born in 1959 in Minna, northern Nigeria, to an Igbo mother and Urhobo father. He grew up in London before returning to Nigeria with his family in 1968. Much of his early fiction explores the political violence that he witnessed at first hand during the civil war in Nigeria. He left the country when a grant from the Nigerian government enabled him to read Comparative ...more
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